Friday, February 3, 2017

A Productive Day ~ Friday 2/3/17

I fell asleep on the couch again for about an hour yesterday and, once again, when Greg woke me up to go to bed, I had a kitten laying on top of me (Princess) and one nestled against my tummy (Explorer).  And this morning, when I woke up to use the bathroom at 5:30 a.m., both of them, who'd been sleeping by my feet, came on my pillow to cudddle right against my face and purr, purr, purr. It was lovely. I can't believe I'm enjoying sleeping with cats so much!

I've been forgetting, however, to set my fitness tracker to sleep as I lie down on the couch and then to get it out of sleep as soon as I wake up. So I think I'm not going to bother using it to track my sleep anymore.

School drop-off went well, and as I drove home at 7:12 a.m., I passed my son's bus that was just picking up the kids. It's supposed to pick them up at 6:55 a.m.!  The first bell rings at 7:15 a.m. So this confirmed that I'm definitely going to be driving him to school until he has his license, next week year (oops).

I have a list of chores to do today and I need to try to be productive!  So I have no plans to go anywhere else.

  • Make chicken stock with carcass in the fridge DONE
  • Turn bread heels into bread crumbs
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time DONE!
  • Watch this week's episode of "Spy in the Wild" on PBS DONE
  • Clear my coupon organizer of expired coupons DONE
  • Clip newly printed coupons DONE
  • Sort coupons DONE
  • Declutter my T-shirt drawers DONE
  • Mop or fake mop the kitchen
  • Put the laundry away DONE
  • Do the dishes  DONE
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son
  • Vacuum the living room
  • Download all January pictures from my phone and camera to external drive
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises  DONE
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike DONE
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations DONE
  • Find USB drive (NOT an SD card!) and clear it so Teen librarian to put photos of Youngest Son on it
  • Read e-library book in progress
  • Make sure Greg assigns specific funds to his IRA account 
  • Move missing Music files from External Drive to my Laptop 
  • Move/reinstall missing software on new laptop in progress, moved all the files to the External Drive
  • Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
  • Clean litter box upstairs DONE
  • Wash downstairs litter boxes Did 2 out of 3, the 3rd one was fine.
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Finish ironing Greg's clothes
  • Take RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Move fonts from external drive and reinstall on new laptop
  • Read the 2 library travel books? on hold, since now we're not sure of when or where we're going
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?
  • Start French blog for my mom and sister?
  • Get soil from Lowe's, before Saturday?
  • Look into transplanting hyacinths in garden
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Mend at least one item from mending basket (Youngest Son's bag)
  • Open savings account with Discover Bank DONE 
  • Figure out how many other tax forms I'm waiting on and when they'll be coming in DONE
  • Track Greg's paycheck in my spreadsheets DONE
  • Try to hit my 1st Daily Goal on Swagbucks DONE
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Research how to declare daughter's income DONE
  • Sit down with my daughter and show her how to file her taxes
  • Send my feedback to all my elected officials (city, county, state, Congress) in progress

  • We didn't turn on the heat last night and indeed we didn't need it as it was 69F in the living room this morning.

  • Youngest son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • Instead of brewing coffee today, I drank the free XL coffee I got from Dunkin' Donuts yesterday. It's not bitter and tastes delicious!  I didn't use all the creamer cups that they gave me so I'll have some for tomorrow.

  • I stretched the milk by adding 1/2 a gallon of water to 1/2 a gallon of whole milk.

  • I harvested thyme from my garden.

  • I'm making chicken stock in the crockpot with the chicken carcass from Monday's dinner and the chicken breast bones from last night's dinner. I unearthed a small bag of eggplant slices from my garden that was in the freezer so I added it to the crockpot, along with some thyme and oregano from the garden.

  • I started earning Swagbucks as soon as I got up this morning with the "All You Can Eat" SB automatic videos and then I also qualified for a survey, so I reached my 1st daily goal really early! 

  • I also redeemed my January bonus Swagbucks, woohoo!

  • That put me over the 2,500 SB needed to order another gift card so I ordered a $25 Walmart gift card that will be used to reduce my grocery expenses.
  • I earned the daily credits for Microsoft Rewards.

  • I continue to declutter my Feedly by unfollowing blogs that no longer are relevant to me. Today I unfollowed "Southern Savers" as her posts are rarely useful to me anymore.

  • I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes and challenged myself to accomplish as many chores as possible in that timeframe. I decided to do chores in my bedroom since there were several that needed to be tended to and I had been procrastinating. Here is what I did in a few minutes over 15 minutes (it was a huge success, I'm going to keep on doing this every day!)
    • Finally put away all the Christmas stuff properly!
    • Put away the laundry in my drawers
    • Decluttered my Tshirt drawers: will be donating 4 Tshirts to the thrift store, put a lot of them "in storage" in a closet since I might wear them again and only kept those that I can wear comfortably now in my drawers. So glad I did this! At some point I will have to declutter the closet, though :)
    • Made my bed
    • Put the 2 comforters that I had set on the ground for the kittens (but that they never use) back in the closet
    • Cleaned up the upstairs litter box (reused a newspaper sleeve to pack up the poop and pee clumps)
    • Put away Christmas wrapping paper and boxes in the "gift closet" and found the compass that we had meant to give our son for Christmas but that Greg couldn't find.
    • Put away Greg's laundry

  • I rewarded myself by putting on the 1st episode of "Spy in the Wild" on PBS. You guys, you have got to watch this show, it is SO good. The editing is excellent and the audioanimatronics they are using to spy on the animals are awesome. And if you like brand new baby elephants, you've got to watch this episode (they show many animals).  While it was on, I purged my coupon organizer of expired coupons.

  • Next, I watched "The American Experience: The Race Underground", also on PBS, about the invention of the American subway system.  Meanwhile, I clipped the coupons that I had printed earlier this week and sorted them in my organizer, and went through past coupon inserts to look for coupons that my BFF might use.  I was able to purge some of those as well :)

  • It was 11 a.m. at this point and I put on an episode of "The Antiques Roadshow", still on PBS, while I looked for coupons to print for my BFF. I put a couple aside for her and I will wait until the new crop comes out on Sunday to mail them to her.

  • I opened the windows to air out the house at about 11:15 a.m.

  • I entered my weight and last night's recumbent bike exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned a total of 180 BR points :)
  • I printed Greg's latest paystub and tracked it in my various spreadsheets.  Our bank automatically transferred the amount corresponding to his 2016 raise to the savings account dedicated to a "new" car fund.

  • IT finally fixed Greg's VPN problem, hooray!  At the same time, they had a meeting at work to warn hiring managers that they have ran out of room.  I suggested to Greg that he works from home, especially since he's really not going to the gym anymore (but insists on still paying the monthly fee since he plays tennis there a couple of times a month). Working from home would save us about $20 a day!  Admittedly, though, it would drive me nuts as he doesn't have a dedicated office and we have to share the living room. I suppose I could retreat to the patio, it's nice outside. I should be out there right now!

    • For lunch, I heated up (too much!) left over pasta with pesto and 5 chicken nuggets. I also ate the left over salad from last night.

    • While it was heating up, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it.

    • My daughter and I decided to go visit Leu Botanical Gardens this month again, as the azaleas are blooming. We'll use my annual pass and my last complimentary visitor ticket but we'll go out to lunch (you can only bring a picnic in for evening events).

    • PinchMe emailed me to urge me to claim some free samples available in my account so I was able to claim 2 samples. I'll pass the cat food on to my BFF.
    • I used Lysol wipes that I had gotten for free with coupons and rebates a couple of years ago to clean the upstairs and downstairs bathroom sinks and toilets.

    • I washed two litter boxes and emptied 2 cat litter jugs refilling the litter boxes afterwards. I reused the cat litter jugs by refilling them with rainwater collected in my rainbarrel. I will use that to water the garden this weekend if it doesn't rain.

    • I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned reward codes for 2 more freebies :)

    • I took 2 Driscoll's surveys and earned two $1.00/1 coupons.

    • I read the articles that interested me in the February issue of Kiplinger's and clipped a few to keep for references.

    • I investigated the terms of opening and maintaining a savings account via Popular Direct Bank, since Kiplinger lists it as having the highest APY of them all (1.15%), but they have various fees that Discover Bank (0.95%) doesn't seem to have so I'm still thinking we need to open an account with Discover Bank and move our emergency fund there so it can generate more interest than we what we're getting now (which is laughably low, we supposedly get 0.15% right now).  I'm sure it's more complicated than that (because I'm no math whiz), but if we have $50K at 0.15%, we get $75 in interest.  If we put the $50K in a Discover Bank account, then we'd get $475.  It goes up to $575 with Popular Direct but then there might be fees.  Also, we could get a $100 bonus for signing up with Discover Bank with a $15K deposit by mid March.  I'm going to wait until Greg is home tonight and get his final approval and then I'll open a joint account for us with Discover Bank. 

    • I researched how to declare my daughter's income and actually, she needs to file herself but she'll get all the money she paid in taxes back (less than $50!). I will sit down with her and show her how to fill and file the 1040EZ form.

    • In the mail, I received the new issue of Kiplinger's Magazine (I have a free subscription) and an envelope of Old El Paso Chicken Taco Seasoning (General Mills sample).

    • For dinner I made soup inspired by a recipe that Laura featured on her blog last month, Hearty Brown Lentil Soup.  I have no patience so I pretty much put everything in a pot and let it simmer (I did cook the 1/4 onion that I used with the garlic and the cumin separately). I used the last 2.5 cups of chicken stock that I had made a couple of weeks ago.  We're skipping the cilantro, Italian parsley and feta cheese.  I was going to make grilled cheese sandwiches to go with it but now I'm thinking I might defrost some naan bread.

    • I perused the previews of next week's CVS and Walgreens weekly ads to see what I would be buying where. There's actually nothing that interests me at CVS, but I'll be getting my milk at Walgreens because it's cheaper than at Aldi.

    • Swagbucks is on the ball with the gift cards this month, I got the one that I ordered this morning, already!

    • The soup was very good and yielded a lot of soup. I saved 2 full large Chinese takeaway soup containers that I will freeze and I was still able to save 1 cup of it for my lunch one of these days.  I serve wedges of naan bread with it.

    • After dinner I discussed opening a savings account with Greg.  We agreed to go ahead and opened the account. First frustration: the online application asked how much we wanted to deposit and then how we wanted to deposit it with mobile deposit as an option so I picked that. I used their app to try to deposit the check (which took several tries!) and then it told me I couldn't deposit that much via the app. Whaaaat?!  So I called Customer Service who confirmed I'd have to mail the check and I asked them to let their web designer know that there should be a warning that if you want to deposit more than $500 when you open an account, you can NOT do it via the app. Grrr. She said she would pass it along.  So now I have to sweat that the check will get there via USPS, and then we should get a $100 bonus (oooooh!) by the end of March. I'll be happy when it's all settled :)

    • And then, I used my recumbent bike for 45 minutes!  Woohoo!  I'm getting back in the groove with that, at least. Now gotta start drinking water again and logging in my food intake into MFP :)  I'll get there!  I watched 2 episodes of "Frasier" on Netflix while I was biking.

    • After that,  I relaxed by watching an episode of "Maigret" in French on WDSC (over the air channel).

    • Gas:
      • to drive my son to school
      • and tolls for Greg's commute

    • I just saw the stupidest commercial for "Public Storage" whereby a woman rents a storage space to store things that were in her shed (being stored for FREE), including a little girl's bike when her daughter is clearly depicted in the commercial as being a teenager, so she can carve herself some space to medicate while the teen and her friends practice their "music" in her house (they're really just screaming in a microphone).  This is really an indictment of stupid people, IMO:
      1. Get rid of the crap you don't need!
      2. Tell the teens to turn it down or go practice somewhere else
      3. Don't pay for storage to store the crap that you don't need or to store something that you could be storing at home if you just decluttered or/and got organized!
    I mean, how many people do we know who have garage so stuffed with crap that they can't even park their cars in there?  And then they may also have storage units?!  I'm not a minimalist but it's madness and fiscally irresponsible. Commercials that pander to people like that and encourage them to do things like these really REALLY irk me.  Some people have a legitimate need for a storage unit (consolidating 2 houses and you need time to sort it out, or you don't have a garage or shed, or you've inherited something that you don't have room for and need to store temporarily, or you're moving away for a time and don't have an apartment or house to store your stuff...) but that really wasn't one.

    • I waited too long to transplant my oregano seedlings last Fall and then the kittens destroyed them so now I don't have any oregano growing and I need some!  So I will have to spend a lot more than growing it would have cost :( OK, it's not going to be a huge amount of money at all, but still an expense that I could have avoided. 

      • No Spend Day :) Woo!

      • A $25 Walmart gift card was ordered from Swagbucks
      • I qualified to request 2 free samples from PinchMe
      • March issue of Kiplinger's Magazine
      • Envelope of Old El Paso chicken taco seasoning
      • Greg got another pack of gum for free at work

      • Fed the kittens
      • Packed Greg's lunch
      • Prepped his breakfast
      • Drove my son to school
      • Made chicken stock in the crockpot
      • Stretched the milk
      • Harvested thyme
      • Worked on my shopping list for next week
      • Worked on my Rewards programs
      • Cuddled with a kitten
      • Put away Christmas decorations
      • Put away my laundry and Greg's
      • Decluttered my Tshirt drawers
      • Put away comforters from the floor of my room
      • Put away Christmas wrapping paper and boxes
      • Cleaned up upstairs litter box
      • Watched "Spy in the Wild" episode
      • Purged my coupon organizer
      • Clipped coupons
      • Sorted coupons
      • Looked for coupons for my BFF
      • Wrote a card for a friend
      • Aired out the house
      • Printed Greg's paystub and tracked it in my spreadsheets
      • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
      • Did all the shredding
      • Figured out what forms I was still missing to file our taxes
      • Cleaned the upstairs bathroom (including scrubbing the toilet)
      • Cleaned the downstairs shower
      • Washed 2 litter boxes from downstairs and refilled them
      • Filled empty jugs with rainwater
      • Took consumer satisfaction surveys
      • Read Kiplinger's February issue
      • Researched online banks' savings accounts
      • Researched how to file my daughter's taxes
      • Downloaded tax form and instructions
      • Caught up on blogs and news
      • Cooked dinner
      • Opened an new savings account
      • Tried to deposit a mobile check
      • Called bank customer service
      • Filed paperwork away

      • Sleep was good!
      • Breakfast was a cup of Rice Krispies with 1/3 cup of raspberries and 1 cup of ~2% milk
      • Mid morning snack was a slice of bread with a little bit of cream cheese
      • Lunch was pasta with pesto, 5 chicken nuggets, salad
      • Afternoon snack was a mini bag of gummy worms, chips and salsa
      • Dinner was a bowl of lentil soup and a wedge of naan bread
      • Water consumption was not good at all.
      • Exercise was 45 min on the recumbent bike (7.86 miles)
      • Foot exercises were performed!
      • that my free DD coffee wasn't bitter this morning. It's the little things...
      • that I could harvest thyme from my garden when I needed to dry some more
      • that I finally don't have the "put Christmas stuff away" chore hanging over my head!
      • that I was so productive today.  I still have a lot to do, but I made progress on chores and longer term projects and that makes me happy :)
      • for international TV shows being broadcast in their original languages on OTA TV, I enjoy this very much.


      Princess watched "Spy in the Wild" with me this morning ;) Sorry the light wasn't good so the picture is blurry.

      She decided to jump on the soundbar to better try to catch the animals from the show!

      Explorer decided to warm up the coupons. He's helpful that way,

      Then he took a nap near me and Princess tried to dislodge him by pretty much sitting on top of him. Didn't work, he stayed
      where he was. He's gotten wise to her!

      She got tired of waiting for me to give her the cat grass so she enrolled her brother to
      get it down from the breezeway countertop...

      ... and had herself a little snack!

      Meanwhile Tabby Kitten is obsessed with socks and keeps on bringing either my or Greg's socks
      downstairs (he gets them mostly from Greg's hamper as it's just a laundry basket).  There are 3 or 4 socks belonging to Greg strewn about the house today...

      This afternoon, Princess and I heard a bird calling from the hedge so we checked it out...

      And spied a juvenile male cardinal who stayed in the hedge for a very long time!
      Happy Weekend!


      1. I'm glad you liked the soup! It's funny how we all adapt recipes to suit our personal cooking styles. :)

        A couple of our cats are obsessed with socks, too. I really didn't know that cats did that until I had them. I thought it was only dogs who were drawn to people's clothing. They are funny little creatures.

        1. That soup was delicious, Laura! I probably should have added the cilantro (although all I had was the paste, I don't know where the cilantro that I froze is...) but I figured it'd be good enough without and it was. Thanks for the recipe!

          Greg said Tabby Kitty was a dog in disguise. It's too funny to see him walk around dragging socks bigger than him, ha ha ha! Then he throws them up in the air, wraps himself in them, it's just comical. I'd never seen a cat do that either.

      2. I hate that storage ad too!!! I screamed at the tv and told her she would have tons more money if she put that effort into a garage sale and less junk around the house. If people are really out there throwing away this much money then they can certainly do better things with it. I felt that seemingly immediate productivity on Friday morning when I finished al lthe dishes, loaded and started the dishwasher and started the whites before going to work. Super excited and thought that should mean that I get to go back to bed instead of work!! LOL!!! I got a lot more accomplished but a nap would have been better :)

        1. LOL, I'm glad I wasn't the only one screaming at the TV! Well done with your Friday productivity!

      3. Wow! Look at you go! You got an awesome amount of things done! Woo Hoo! Now, you want to come over and help me with my list? :D Love how the kittens are helping you and helping themselves to their grass, too! Good kitties!

        1. If I ever make it to California, I'm taking you out to shop for new pants, lol. Would that help? (smile) and I'm great at decluttering OTHER people's stuff.

          Yes, they are good kitties but this morning Explorer drove me a little crazy :)

      4. I love your idea of working while setting the timer for 15 minutes. I used to do that quite a bit, and I've gotten away from it lately. I always tell myself if we did that every night, we might be able to get away from our usual Saturday morning cleaning marathon (and have fun on Saturday morning, like by going to the farmers market downtown). Not sure why that's so hard to do after a long day at work.

        I'm with you on those storage units. We had one for about seven months when we first moved to Florida. We lived in an apartment while looking for a house/waiting for the house to be built and stored all our "garage stuff" and "house stuff" that just wouldn't fit in the relatively small apartment. They are great for exactly the reasons you listed; other than that...sell some stuff!!!

        1. I really need to make sure I do the 15-minute timer every day. I've only done it twice so far, but it gave me such a sense of accomplishment! I just need to plan which area of the house to work on first, otherwise the 15 minutes go by and I'll have squandered it, wondering where to start. It shouldn't be this hard, seeing that my whole house needs to be dusted, swept/vacuumed, windows need to be washed, but I feel better if I have a specific roadmap in mind :)

          It's hard to be motivated to do ANY cleaning after working outside of the house and commuting. All you want to do is RELAX! But yes, if it could save your Saturday mornings, then maybe it would be motivation enough?


      Anything you'd like to add? Share away!